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August
Rare chance to view Mars at close range

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The Hong Kong Space Museum (Space Museum) will provide special observation facilities for the public to view the surface of Mars on August 27 and September 3 when the red planet will be the closest it has been to the earth in the past 60,000 years.

This rare phenomenon, known as the Perihelic Opposition of Mars, takes place only every 15 years. It occurs at a time when the earth lies between the Sun and Mars in a straight line, and when Mars is closest to the earth.

The Curator of the Space Museum, Mr Sam Chow Kim-fung, said the next Perihelic Opposition of Mars would take place on August 29 when Mars would rise at 7pm and become the brightest star throughout the night.

Mr Chow said there would also be excellent opportunities to view Mars the week before and after August 29 as it would be at its closest to the earth. "The public can see the surface of Mars in a southeast direction with an astronomical telescope at an unobstructed site," Mr Chow said. "While viewed without any aid, it will appear as a bright orange-red spot."

"If you miss this one, you will have to wait until the year 2287," Mr Chow added.

The two-hour observation will take place at the Space Museum on August 27 at 8pm and on September 3 at 7.30pm. A telescope will be available to view Mars, subject to weather conditions. Bookings are not required and admission is free.

The Space Museum is located at 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon.

For more information on the activity, visit the Space Museum's website at http://hk.space.museum.

For enquiries, call 2721 0226.

End/Saturday, August 23, 2003

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